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One should take notice of this gem of a band from Chicago because Ember is on the threshold of erupting into one of America's brightest hopefuls within extreme music. Along with Agalloch, November's Doom, Grey Skies Fallen, Somnus, and scant few others, they are at the forefront of the new American underground scene. No longer the derivative Decide-like drool of yesteryears, the new underground willfully embraces superior European metal influences. Adding a twist of punk and hardcore to their blackened death sound, Ember creates a unique hybrid of these newer influences. Add one part Mayhem, one part old-school punk, a dash of grind vocals, a teaspoon of Gothenburg metal, and a delicious icing of Swedish black death à la Unanimated and serve. The tastiest morsel is definitely "The Shedding," which sounds like a strange, yet successful, Unanimated/Ablaze My Sorrow attempt at a Black Flag/Misfits song. Serving as a mini-CD that reissues both early demos and features a Misfits cover, the album contains five new songs, which virtually assure Ember a promising future. While the demos are excellent, the new material is what truly shines. Thanks to Pete's strange vocals and the great guitar work of former November's Doom drummer Abbas and his co-pilot Nader, Ember achieves an amazing equilibrium between punk escapism and somber, darkened metal.